Active COVID-19 Cases Increase

The University's COVID-19 cases remained low for 4 weeks before last week's increase. The entire semester's active student case numbers are graphed above.

Photo by Katelyn Oren

The University’s COVID-19 cases remained low for 4 weeks before last week’s increase. The entire semester’s active student case numbers are graphed above.

Written by Matthew Goldsmith, News Editor

  The University of Central Missouri has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases, bringing the campus total of active cases back to the number first released on Sept. 4. However, the number of cases is still lower than the campus’s September peak of 136 student cases. 

  As of Nov. 13, UCM has 42 known active student cases and seven faculty/staff cases. This is up from the Nov. 6 total of 16 student and six faculty/staff cases.

  Jeff Murphy, assistant director for media relations, said he believes the increase on campus is related to local and national increases and social events on Halloween. 

  “There were a lot of parties going on locally, a lot of social events,” Murphy said. “And we believe a lot of those activities were attended by students, and it’s quite likely there were some cases that developed because of increase in social activity.”

  Murphy said the university is monitoring the situation, but hasn’t made any changes to the plan to return to campus after fall break. He also recommends students take steps to limit their exposure to their family during fall break, especially those who are vulnerable.

  “We’re strongly urging students, before they go home, to think about those kinds of ramifications and to take whatever steps they can to help support a safe trip home,” Murphy said.

  Phillip Bridgmon, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said he has been satisfied with how the UCM study body has handled COVID-19 this semester and understands the challenges they have faced.

  “I think the students have been champs,” Bridgmon said. “It certainly hasn’t been easy.”

  With many students leaving Warrensburg for fall break and coming back to campus for two weeks, Brigdmon said it depends on the professor and class content whether or not students will have to go to in-person classes after the break.

  “It’s really contextual within the class, its schedule and then how they finish up,” Bridgmon said. “But, operationally, we will be coming back after Thanksgiving and then finishing up final exams on schedule, as well as commencement.”

  With fall break approaching, it is important for students to follow COVID-19 protocols in order to keep the university’s numbers steady. 

  Morgan Wehmeyer, a senior child & family development major, had to be quarantined after being exposed to two different people within 48 hours who tested positive for COVID-19. 

  “I had hung out with some friends on Halloween, and we found out through them that one of them had tested positive,” Wehmeyer said. “And then I had also hung out with another person and she tested positive.”

  However, Wehmeyer said she isn’t concerned about returning to campus after Thanksgiving. Since she is graduating in December and only has one in-person class, she is just focusing on finishing her classes.

  “I want to finish this last four weeks strong,” Wehmeyer said. “So, if that means I’m staying home and just doing everything online or coming back, I’m not super concerned with it.”